Riverside County families receiving food assistance to get extra support

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RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Riverside County families whose children receive free meals due to financial hardship are in line for a boost in benefits because of the coronavirus emergency, and those without access to food aid can apply over the next seven weeks, officials said today.

Families with dependent children enrolled in CalFresh, foster care or Medi-Cal have been deemed automatic recipients of Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer, or P-EBT, Program funding, according to the county Department of Public Social Services.

About 3.8 million children throughout California qualify, though the exact number countywide was not immediately known, DPSS said.

The P-EBT is a short-term program intended to help income-eligible families by supplying up to $365 in debit card credit for residents with children who received or will receive free school meals between March and June.

Public schools countywide have generally continued to provide the complimentary meals service despite being closed under a coronavirus-related order in mid-March issued by the county public health officer.

“Many households in Riverside County depend on school meals,” said DPSS Self-Sufficiency Program Director Allison Gonzalez. “This additional benefit will help struggling families keep nutritious food on their tables.”

Gonzalez noted that P-EBT is separate from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — SNAP — which replaced food stamps under federal welfare provisions in the prior decade.

Families, parents or legal guardians with children who are not presently enrolled in CalFresh, foster care of Medi-Cal are also eligible to apply for P-EBT assistance, officials said.

Applications must be submitted before June 30 using the website https://ca.p-ebt.org/.

Questions may be directed to the P-EBT Program Service Center at 877-328-9677.